I had an experience at work today with a difficult customer who demonstrated that wealth and wisdom are two different things. I hope this will give other people even more of a laugh than I had.
Switchboard called me saying that a man was demanding to speak to a Manager, regarding one of the client companies that we service. I explained to switchboard that the manager was off site in a meeting with another of our clients that that I would need to take the call myself.
When the call was put through, the man didn’t even introduce himself. I had to say "hello, can I help you?" three times before he even spoke up. Then he launched into a diatribe about how [the company I work for] had completely messed up his account, and he repeatedly demanded to speak with a Manager. When I explained that the Manager was in a meeting, he grouched "Are you saying that you only have one Manager in your office?" Very patiently I explained that there are many Managers in the office (but not that they were all in meetings themselves) but that each client company has a specific Manager assigned to oversee their accounts. In very colourful language he said what he thought of the company that I work for.
Eventually I managed to endure his swearing long enough to find out that a typing mistake had been made on his account by whomever had entered the details from his application form. He said he’d already telephoned about this, and gave the christian name of the girl he’d spoken with. In an international company employing thousands of people he expected me to know who this person was. On a hunch I asked if this person had been in the Melbourne office (I’m in Sydney) because that’s where most of our data entry takes place, and my hunch proved correct. I explained that they would most likely need to retrieve the original application form in order to validate the correction. His mood then turned from bitterly assertive to fully abusive, demanding to know why the company didn’t have his application form within immediate reach. I explained that with thousands of forms passing through the office it would take an indeterminate amount of time to locate his own. He spoke the name of my company’s Chief Executive Officer, claimed to know him personally, and threatened to write a letter on the matter. I replied that he was welcome to do so, but that he would merely receive a reply telling him that I was following standard procedure.
At this point I explained that I would need to contact the data entry team to rectify the problem, and that I would telephone him back. As if he hadn’t already been petty minded enough, he demanded to know what time I would telephone back. I replied that I couldn’t estimate how long the matter would take to resolve. He repeated his abrasive statements, and again several times demanded to know when I would call him. Then he said he wanted to come into the office in person. I explained that this would not be necessary as we could fix the problem at this end. After I assured him that I would call back, but not at a specific time, he hung up the phone before giving me his number.
I contacted the Melbourne office, spoke with the first staff member to have spoke with this "gentleman" and obtained his phone number. Then I set about communicating with the data entry team.
Unbeknownst to me, he DID come into the office, produced a copy of his holding statement and driver’s licence, made an unnecessary comment that if "Stephan Cottrell were working for me I’d fire him" and then left. I learned of this during my efforts to fix his problem.
Here’s the supreme joke. The original staff member he’d spoken with in Melbourne had diligently gone about her duty, apparently found the original application and fixed the error long before he arrived in the Sydney office. In fact it may even have been shortly after I concluded my phone call.
This imbecile had made an entirely wasted trip into our office. I never ceased to be amazed at how some people think that they will achieve results by abandoning all diplomacy and trying to berate their way through the most simple problems.